Wheat Brioche Sandwich Buns

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Bucket lists seem to be quite the thing lately. I’ve seen a lot of blogs doing “30 by 30” or “12 in 2012” series on their blogs. While I think that’s an awesome idea, I’d kind of rather keep my list in my head. That way if I don’t get to everything on it, I’m the only one that’s disappointed. Besides, my list is ever evolving. It needs space to grow.

Homemade hamburger buns have been on my mental bucket list for WAY too long. I have no idea what I was waiting for, but I can tell you that now that I have made them, they’re here to stay. I did a lot of research and even when I found one that sounded perfect I still decided to make a small tweak. I like trying to include whole grains in my baked goods when I can so I hoped that I could make that substitution and still have a good result. I didn’t do a full half and half substitute because I didn’t want the buns to be too heavy. It worked! And the buns were everything I hoped they would be.


If you’ve been considering making your buns, give these a try! They are not nearly as intimating as you might think. Really, they’re no more difficult than making any bread. I used my standing mixer, but I’m fairly certain you could do the whole process by hand if you needed to. The results you get and the pride you’ll feel when you see those beautiful buns (snicker) will make every ounce of effort well worth it! Not to mention the benefit of knowing EXACTLY what is going into your food and avoiding things like HFCS.


Wheat Brioche Sandwich Buns

Ingredients
1 cup warm water
3 Tbsp warm milk
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 large eggs, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened*
Sesame seeds (optional)

Directions
Combine the water, milk, yeast and sugar in a measuring cup. Let stand for 5-10 minutes to proof, you’ll know it’s working when the top gets foamy and the yeast is dissolving. In a small bowl beat 1 egg.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk together the 2 flours and salt. Add the butter* and use your fingers to rub it into the flour, it should start to look like wet sand. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture and egg. Fit the mixer with a dough hook. Knead on low speed for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. It will be sticky, and that’s OK. If it seems dry, add a little extra water a tablespoon at a time.

Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl. Cover with a clean towel and set in a warm place for 1-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size. (Mine took an hour and 15 minutes).

Line 2 baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and turn out onto a very lightly flour surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball and place 4 on each baking sheet, allowing room for rising. Gently press down on each one so they are a little flatter. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for another 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.

While the buns are rising, beat the second egg with one tablespoon of water. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place a shallow baking pan filled with water on the flour of the oven, or on a rack in the lowest position.

When the buns have risen, brush the tops with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if using). Bake for 15 minutes, turning the pans halfway through, or until the tops are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Excellent, when lightly buttered and toasted and topped with something delicious like a burger or shredded chicken or pulled pork.

*To make the butter step easier, I actually used cold butter and used a cheese grater to grate the cheese into the flour. From there it was easy to rub together.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, originally from the New York Times and Comme Ca Restaurant

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread


A few weeks ago I replaced my bread pan (I left the old one in Ohio because it had seen better days). You might remember that I used my new bread pan to make a really yummy vegetable lasagna. Vegetable lasagna is really delicious, but I bought the pan because I really want to start making my own bread. It’s not difficult and most of the time spent making it is hands off. I also see it as a major bonus that I know exactly what is going into my bread.

I’ve been keeping my eye out online for a good recipe that would work for my morning toast (my #1 use for bread) and the occasional sandwich I make for lunch. I saw this beautiful bread on Pennies on a Platter and it sounded like it would be a good fit. It turned out to be just what I was looking for. A flavorful bread that can stand on it’s own with a little butter but is also complimented by a little cinnamon sugar or honey. I ate so much toast this week that I didn’t try it as a sandwich bread but it feels and tastes like it would hold up well. My parents are visiting this weekend and my dad found it and has had probably 5 slices in two days. Big hit!


Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread
(Adapted from Pennies on a Platter)

1 cup water
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons molasses
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour
1 cup rolled oats
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tablespoon salt
Additional oats for topping the loaf (optional)

Prepare a 9×5 loaf pan by lightly buttering or spraying with non-stick spray.

In a microwave safe measuring cup, heat the milk and water till lukewarm, about 115˚F. Combine the water, milk, honey and molasses in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let proof for 5 minutes, should look foamy if the yeast is good.

When the yeast has proofed, add the flours, oats, melted butter and salt to the bowl. Mix for 6 minutes on medium speed. The dough should climb the dough hook and slap around the sides of the bowl without sticking. If the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl add a more flour a tablespoon at a time, if it seems like the dough isn’t coming together (too dry) do the same thing with a tablespoon of water.

Cover the mixing bowl with a clean towel and place in a warm, dry place (an oven with the light turned on is a great place) and let rise for 2 hours, or until doubled in size. If you poke the dough and the poke stays then you know it’s ready.

To shape the loaf, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 1 or 2 minutes and then let it relax for a minute. Shape the dough into a flat square. Fold one side of the dough into middle, then fold the other side to meet it in the middle. Pinch the seam then roll the dough back and forth a little to form a log. Transfer the dough to the bread pan, seam side down.

Cover the loaf with a towel and let rise for another hour. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. After the dough has risen lightly mist with water and sprinkle additional oats on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the crust is brown and when you tap on the loaf it sounds hollow. Allow the loaf to cool on a wire rack . Remove from pan when completely cool.